A few events have converged to lead to this episode of little consequence; first, I just had the pleasure of logging a few thousand miles of top-down driving fun, third (chronologically), my sister just wrote an article in her blog about the singular pleasure of the experience, and second, I was recently ribbed for coming to a gentle stop at a yellow light while driving in Southern California.
In her blog Carol Anne mentioned that one feels more connected to the world when the top is down. This is undeniable, but it has effects on the driver that go far past what you might expect. Convertible drivers, by virtue (I believe) of their less-insulated state, are more courteous drivers. That’s not just the random assertion of a convertible driver, it’s based on Science. That’s right, there’s been a study. I can’t link to it, but I heard about it from the Actual Scientist. I think I did, anyway; my recollection is vague, but I’m pretty sure Click and Clack actually spoke to the individual involved. That’s NPR right there. Unassailable.
In any case, the Actual Scientific Study (a Master’s thesis, as I recall), involved driving around, stopping at traffic lights, and then not moving for ten agonizing seconds after the light turned green. The conclusion: drivers of convertibles were far less likely to honk their horns during those ten seconds. Someone got a Master’s degree for that.
There are lots of rude things that people do in cars that they would never do anywhere else. If everyone had no top on their cars, the roads would be much more civil. Heck, you might even have a nice conversation at the next traffic light. They’re good places to hang out.